Plan the Perfect Mount Rushmore Visit

Mount Rushmore is one of the United States’ most iconic sites- a grand piece of art that has transcended time and has attracted about three million visitors every year.

Nestled away in the country’s mountaineering heartland, Mount Rushmore is the purest of bucket-list attractions. But where is it? What is it?

We take a look at the prized monumental and memorial and what to expect when you see it.

Mount Rushmore with Avenue of Flags

Where is Mount Rushmore?

Mount Rushmore is a massive mountain carving of four past US presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.

Mount Rushmore is located in the western half of South Dakota, near the center of the United States. It is officially located at 13000 SD-244, Keystone, SD.

Most people head to Mount Rushmore from Denver, CO from the south or Sioux Falls directly east. The main highway through the center of the state, 90, will get you right where you want to be!

See the Monument

The monument is a spectacle. But once you pull up in the parking lot, where do you go from there?

The vast majority of visitors see Mount Rushmore by way of the Avenue of Flags. Seeing the monument does not require mountaineering or hiking skills. The Avenue of Flags is accessible and flat, offering a nice and easy pathway right below the monument.

You can traverse the “avenue” in minutes, being greeted by all 50 state flags at your left and right, in order of their admission to the United States. Every state flag stands by a pillar, with the name of each state, district, commonwealth or territory listed on display.

The Avenue of Flags is the most direct path to the monument and is accessible by anyone. But there is a more ambitious alternative.

If you so choose, you can walk the Presidential Trail. The trail is a .6 mile long journey to the monument. It consists of about 400 or so steps and keeps the monument in the background for the majority of your travel. It is a mostly smooth and completely paved pathway, so it should be manageable by most anyone excited for a pleasant afternoon walk (weather permitting, of course).

Close up of Mount Rushmore in SD

Things to Do and Places to See

Mount Rushmore is more than a big statue. It is a memorial site, with other attractions and features worth your time.

You can start at the most obvious spot- the Information Center. Here you can learn what there is to see and things of note, such as wildlife, seasonal hazards, and history.

The Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center primarily covers the history of the sculpture, with details of how it was developed and by whom. It encompasses about 5,200 feet of exhibits as well as two theatre rooms seating over 100.

We also have the family-friendly Sculptor’s Studio where you and the kids can discover how to make your own little monument.

The Junior Ranger Program is another option where kids in three group ages can receive special insight about the local nature. This is often followed by a special tour, but Mount Rushmore tours are available to all guests. You can learn even more about the fascinating history of the monument, including when each president was added.

These are all the main things to do at Mount Rushmore. As you can see, it is more than a statue on a mountain (though that’s cool on its own!). It is a memorial museum sight with fun activities for all.

Where to Eat

Carvers’ Marketplace is the definitive place to eat for guests when visiting Mount Rushmore. You can get sandwiches, ice cream, and cold drinks. It is a handy place to spot in for a quick bite to eat on your travels.

Where to Stay

Our Mount Rushmore lodging offers a lively introduction to the region. Visit our full list of available rentals in the area, including the nearby Black Hills. The Black Hills has plenty of fun family activities, just a short drive from the monument. Stay in town at our Black Hills lodging and start an amazing mountain vacation.